Look,it’s simple,” she said. “There’s rubbing and not rubbing; there’s whether it feels good or doesn’t, and whether it is good or isn’t. That’s all.”

“Now Mitch and I, we’ve been together 25 years. Lovers? Yeah, you could call us that. And you know we’ve seen it all. We were so young. At first all we cared about was whether it felt good.  We didn’t care whether it was good for us. We said, “eat and smoke as much as you want, honey.” Well, that was how we showed our love, right? To us, love just meant encouragement—rubbing each other in ways that felt good and not rubbing each other in ways that felt bad.”

“I remember one day him saying that overweight wasn’t attractive, and I got pissed, like “Hey, don’t rub me the wrong way!” We had a fight.  I told him he was overweight too and he got all defensive, saying to get out of his face. He said he needed his liberty, and I said I needed mine too and that if he can’t say anything nice he should go fuck himself.”

“See, back then I didn’t think about whether ‘nice’ meant ‘feels good’ or ‘is good for me.’ It was all like Barbie and Ken to me.  Good lovers say yes to you no matter what. Bad lovers give you a hard time sometimes.”

“Now? Well yeah, now I’m glad Mitch was on my case about my weight, even though it was rubbing me ways I didn’t like at the time. It felt wrong but was right.”

“You’ve got these politicians these days who talk all Barbie and Ken about the government.  They say, “Government rubs you in ways that don’t feel good, so let’s end government.” But whether it feels good isn’t the only question. Yes government shouldn’t rub us about everything, and yes government needs to work on making it feel good, but the whole point of government is to look out for the future that doesn’t matter to you and me today because we’re mostly looking for what feels good right now.  Government is like your lover.  Sometimes government will rub you in ways that don’t feel good but are good for you, and the trick is to figure out which rubbings those ways are.”

“I quit smoking too, you know. Mitch still smokes though. I give him a serious hard time about it, which he hates, but says keep doing it. He says me rubbing him the wrong way makes him smoke less, which is good.”